The Indian community is being targeted by a phone scammer impersonating a police officer.

Auckland City Police say numerous people have had phone calls telling them a family member had been arrested. The caller then demands a significant amount of cash for the release of the family member.

Some victims have also been asked to buy a significant amount of iTunes vouchers instead of cash.

Auckland City Police Financial Crime Unit Detective Sergeant Bridget Doell says the scammers often know personal information about the victim.


"These scammers are preying on members of our community who may not be completely familiar with New Zealand law and our police practices," Doell said.

"These scams are quite complex and on at least one occasion the scammer has known personal information about the victim."

Doell said police, or any other government agency, would never demand money or any other form of payment over the phone.

"If you think you've been scammed, we urge you to report [it] as soon as possible to your nearest police station and warn your friends and family so others in the community are also aware of this scam," Doell said.

People who receive suspicious calls should hang up immediately and not engage with the caller, police said.

Anyone with information or who has received similar calls is asked to contact the Financial Crime Unit on (09) 302 6400 or local police station.